“Honesty is the first chapter of the book of wisdom,” wrote Thomas Jefferson. Here are a few ideas to help guide your children as the chapters of their lives unfold.
1. Reward the Truth
Parents are often quick to scold, but aren’t always so quick to praise. Reward honesty with loads of praise and hugs. It will build self-confidence and reinforce the positive behavior. Plus a child can never get too much praise.
2. Train your Child to Speak the Whole Truth
Help your child to understand that so-called “half-truths,” “little white lies,” and not telling the complete truth are all lies. It should always be the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
3. Let your Child Know that Truth Trumps
Your child must know that regardless of what they’ve done, they should always tell the truth. Truth always trumps everything and anything. Sure, there will be consequences for their wrongdoing. Some will be natural consequences for their actions and some will be decided upon. But the consequences will be even worse if they lie. My kids know that the most important thing to me is for them to tell me the truth no matter what.
4. Encourage your Child to look for Honest Friends
The great apostle Paul said, “Bad company corrupts good character.” If your child’s friends lie and cheat, odds are that they will too. But if your child’s friends are upstanding and honest, then your son or daughter will be inclined to be the same. Teach your child to associate with other kids who are honest and trustworthy. Here are 5 ways to help your kids make friends.
5. Model Truth
No matter what you do for a living, there’s one job that all parents share – being a role model for their children. When you get too much change back at the grocery store, there’s your chance to model honesty. When you’re at the movie and they ask if your child is under the age of 12, there’s your opportunity to speak the truth. Sow seeds of truth into your child’s life by modeling it.